Man Who Wore Jack-'o-Lantern Mask During Pierce County Rape, Robbery Sentenced


A man who wore a repurposed Halloween costume during two violent attacks and a sexual assault on sex shop employees in Tacoma and Puyallup in 2019 faces the rest of his life behind bars.

A jury found Shawn Lamar Bell, 54, guilty of second-degree rape, second-degree assault, first-degree burglary and second-degree robbery in connection to the incidents following his trial in April. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Stanley Rumbaugh sentenced him to 11 years, eight months to life in prison July 22.

Prior to the attacks, Bell had no violent criminal convictions, according to court records. He previously operated a gym in Puyallup.

The first incident occurred when Bell entered the Lovers store on South Meridian Avenue in Puyallup wearing a jack-o'-lantern mask just before closing time on March 8, 2019, according to court documents. He grabbed an employee by the neck and ordered her to fill his bag with cash and penis enhancement pills.

Bell told the employee he was taking her with him out of the store, but another worker pulled her back inside. Bell fled with about $1,400 in cash and $400 in merchandise.

The jury was deadlocked on the first-degree attempted kidnapping charge filed against Bell.

A few days later, Bell confronted two workers on the loading docks at the Castle Megastore on South Tacoma Way around 1:30 a.m. and demanded the keys to get inside, court documents say.

Bell punched one of them in the face and forced the other to have sex with him before fleeing.

Video footage from the Tacoma attack showed the suspect wearing the same clothing from the Puyallup robbery, including a metallic pumpkin mask.

A woman who saw surveillance footage of the Puyallup incident online said she saw Bell wearing the same mask at a Halloween party, according to court documents. He had also posted social media videos wearing it.

Police recovered the mask and two stolen vibrators when they arrested Bell.

DNA recovered from the employee who was sexually assaulted matched Bell, court documents say. Location data also put his cell phone at the scenes of both crimes.

Bell's rape conviction allowed the judge to sentence him to up to life in prison. He'll get about three years of credit for time served in jail awaiting trial and will be under the supervision of a state parole officer for the rest of his life if released.

Court documents show Pierce County sheriff's detectives investigated Bell for another rape at the gym he owned the day of the Puyallup incident. Prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence to charge him because detectives lost contact with the victim and they did not have her medical records.

Another woman alleged Bell strangled her and hit her multiple times in a domestic violence protection order from 2016.

Bell insisted that he had "never been in trouble with the law" and didn't "feel like a sex offender" in a pre-sentencing interview with officials.